© 2019 by Boston Partners for Peace

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January 23, 2020

This blog post was originally published on October 18, 2018. We are reposting it in advance of our upcoming event with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies on February 6, 2020. We hope you will join us to meet two recent alumni, Shira Fisch of Moshav Yaad (Arava Institute ’19) and Mohammed Jarrad of Tulkarem (Arava Institute ’17) as they discuss their experiences and the impact of those experiences. 

When many of us think about our future, we think about how climate change will have a significant impact on our lives.  The Paris Climate Accord signed in 2015 was groundbreaking in its stipulation that every country has a collective responsibility to protect the earth and adopt measures to minimize climate change.  Even so, the agreed-upon goals fail to adequately address the negative effects in the coming decades. Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report written by 90 scientists with a dire warning for the future of planet earth. They believe tha...

January 10, 2020

Throughout their history, peacebuilding efforts have primarily focused on promoting equity and diversity of voices between Israelis and Palestinians. More recently, there has been a call for diversity of involvement within these movements across demographics, specifically age (the next generation) and gender (women’s involvement). Considering that women account for 50% of the population, their influence over decisions that might affect their lives should reflect their presence in society. This week, I want to highlight the work of two movements that have been formed, both in Israel and the US, to provide women with opportunities to have their voices heard in the peacebuilding landscape. Both initiatives were inspired by UN Resolution 1325, which aims to “ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels… for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.”

When I was in Israel this past December with JCRC’s Study Tour for Civic Leaders, we were fortunate to...

December 27, 2019

I recently returned from Israel with the JCRC Study Tour in Israel for Civic Leaders, where State Senators from the Massachusetts Legislature participated in an in-depth 10-day tour of Israel. Our trip came at a politically salient time for Israel, as an unprecedented third round of elections were being organized. It was a historic moment in Israel’s history, to say the least. Following these events, we framed our learning around the potential consequences. What would a peaceful future for Israel look like under potential new leadership? What were the issues most important to Israeli voters and how were they being mobilized? Who were the citizens and non-citizens that make-up the diverse population of Israel and the Palestinian territories? Throughout the week we received clarity on these issues, and I was privileged to obtain even more insight upon my return.

Crucial to understanding the complexity of Israel were our meetings with grassroots organizations doing people-to-people wo...

September 12, 2019

This week, the Parents Circle Families Forum hosted a webinar to introduce their new Palestinian co-Director, Bassam Aramin. Like many others involved in the Parents Circle, Bassam was motivated to join the group after his 10-year old daughter was killed by a stray rubber bullet from a clash with Israeli border police. As Bassam recounted his journey to understand the Israeli perspective, I was moved by his story of emerging from time spent in an Israeli prison with a changed mindset. 

Bassam grew up in Hebron, where he witnessed the West Bank occupation by Israel after the 1967 war. As a teenager he became involved in resistance efforts, throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. He was eventually arrested and spent seven years in an Israeli prison. He decided to take the time to learn Hebrew because he wanted to improve his efforts to challenge his Israeli enemies. As part of his class, he watched a Holocaust documentary which fundamentally challenged his beliefs. According to Bassam,...

August 7, 2019

On Wednesday, August 14th Boston Partners for Peace will host a bar night for young professionals at Bow Market. We hope you will join us for a fun and inspiring night to learn about Israelis and Palestinians working together to better their societies. We’ll hear from Lobna Agbaria, Program Director at Our Generation Speaks (OGS). Lobna is a Palestinian citizen of Israel and an entrepreneur.  Through a 3-month accelerator program each summer in Boston, OGS empowers Palestinian and Israeli leaders to create start-up ventures that will have significant social and economic impact in each of their societies. The program brings the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders in their 20’s and 30’s together in the hope of building a new, shared generation of leadership based on trust and mutual understanding.

One of the main barriers to Israeli-Palestinian cooperation is the lack of contact between them.  People from the two societies often don’t have the opportunity to meet one another until...

August 1, 2019

Imagine a mother walking through a checkpoint from the West Bank into Israel with her critically ill child in tow. This might be the first time she has ever been allowed to enter Israel proper, and maybe she doesn’t speak Hebrew very well. She isn’t allowed to bring a car across the border and does not know how to travel to the Israeli hospital where her child is supposed to receive treatment. This mother is left on the side of the road, at once scared to be in a foreign place alone and worried for her child’s health.

This is where the organization Road to Recovery fills a vital need. Each day, average Israeli citizens meet Palestinian families at border crossings to drive them to life-saving medical appointments. Over 150 such rides take place daily. These rides give Israelis and Palestinians opportunities to get to one to know one another, and over time building mutual respect, trust, dialogue and friendship.  For many Israelis, they volunteer with Road to Recovery in addition to thei...

July 25, 2019

In the blog last week, my colleague wrote about his recent trip to Israel with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC Boston’s) delegation of Labor leaders from Massachusetts. He reflected on “the generational shift that [Israeli and Palestinian] societies are undergoing. Many speakers referenced the iconic image of Bill Clinton looking on as Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House Lawn in 1993. The number of people who do not remember that moment is growing, they are reaching adulthood, and their entire attitude toward peacebuilding and the ‘other’ is different from previous generations. We do not know exactly how this new attitude will crystalize, but we should be hopeful about the rise of a generation that can re-imagine the possibilities of peace and human-to-human connection.” This newer generation of Israelis are more familiar with wartime than hope for peace. After decades defined by unrest and mistrust, many Israeli and Palestinian...

June 13, 2019

We started Boston Partners for Peace to share the work of peacebuilding organizations in the hopes that the Boston community would be inspired by stories of friendship, reconciliation, and transformation between Israelis and Palestinians. This year, we have had the opportunity to meet passionate changemakers in Boston who each have their own reasons for wanting to engage with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

After hearing your stories, we want to give you an opportunity to share them with our community. We want to hear from directly from you.

If you would like to share your experiences on a recent trip to Israel or the West Bank, your take on Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, or want to reflect on peacebuilding efforts and solutions, we want to hear your thoughts. Please contact us if you have a blog post or an idea for a blog post. We aspire to serve as a forum for ideas, interaction, and current events related to peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians. We understand the conversa...

June 6, 2019

In the Fall, we wrote about being deeply troubled by the U.S. Administration’s decision to end the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding for cross-border and people-to-people programs. We believe these programs build trust between Israelis and Palestinians, and undermining this support will hurt both the Palestinian people and the prospects for peace. The US administration has indicated that its peace plan will contain financial aid to the Palestinians, but the rollout of the plan has been delayed several times. Fortunately, the need to restore critical co-existence funding has been recognized by Congress, and we are excited to learn that significant legislative progress is being made around the issue.

In a rare bipartisan effort, Senators and Representatives introduced a bill this past Wednesday that would allocate 50 million dollars to create new fund for economic development and Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation projects. We are grateful to Senators Chris Coons (...

May 23, 2019

A few weeks ago, Muslims in Israel celebrated the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. In a previous post, we discussed the ways Ramadan has been used to bring people of all faith backgrounds together and provide opportunities for people in Israel to learn about one another. Each day of Ramadan ends with a festive meal called the ‘iftar’ to end the day’s fast. Over the past several weeks both in Israel and in Boston, we have seen diverse groups of people welcome new cultural experiences despite their differences.

In Jerusalem, Kids4Peace invited the Jerusalem community to an iftar meal that brought together Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli students and their parents. Israeli-Arabs, secular, and religious Israelis celebrated with music and dancing. The Abraham Initiatives invited students and staff of all backgrounds to an iftar at Oranim college. They also convened Jewish and Arab principals who participate in the Shared Learning Initiative together for an iftar meal to meet each othe...

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